Today we’re revisiting a post from our archives– breaking down photographer lingo so you can understand your contract. Emily Wenzel is giving us the full rundown of terms you might not be familiar with or understand. Understanding these words and phrases will ensure you are educated when it comes to your wedding pictures and that nothing takes you by surprise after the big day!
I strongly believe doing some research when choosing your wedding photographer will save you a lot of stress in the long run. But, when you’ve figured out your wedding style, and started looking for photographers, it can be overwhelming. You’re checking out websites and portfolios, reading a dozen “about me” pages, and getting an idea for who they are as a person. That’s great! After all, you want a photographer who won’t make you feel uncomfortable on your wedding day. You’ve even sent a few inquiries out, and read through some of their information.
It’s all great! Right? Except…you don’t understand half of what we’re saying. In a way, it’s like we’re speaking another language.
Photography packages? Print release? RAW files? Digital negatives? High (and low) resolution images? Proofs? Editing. Retouching?
What does this mean? How are you supposed to keep it all straight?
It’s not easy, but I’m here to help. Take a deep breath, we’ve got this. I’ll explain a few of these terms.
A print release is something you’ve probably seen on every photographer’s website. Simply put, a print release allows you to print your wedding images, but the photographer still owns them. The photographer is the only person who can make changes to the images, but you’ll have a disc, USB drive, or digital download of the images, and you can print them wherever you like.
Pro tip: It does pay to have your prints done through your photographer. Why? Because we’re using professional labs, and making sure your images are perfect before printing them. Imagine printing a nice large print and then realizing there’s a hair across your face. Those are things I check for when I send my prints to the lab.
Occasionally, a bride or groom asks me about RAW files. More often than not, they want to know what these files are, and there is a lot of confusion on the internet about RAW files. RAW files are basically that — they’re raw. They are sometimes called digital negatives but really, they’re more like undeveloped digital negatives. RAW files are like film, straight out of the camera. A film photographer would never give their client undeveloped rolls of film, and you can’t expect your photographer to give you the undeveloped digital negatives either. This article does a great job of explaining why photographers don’t give RAW files or all your images.
Pro tip: Instead of asking for RAW files, ask your photographer about the resolution of the jpeg images s/he will be delivering to you. The resolution will determine how (or if) they can be printed.
Almost all my packages include high resolution images. I also send my clients low resolution images. What does that mean? High resolution (or high-res) images are what you want to print. They’re going to look fantastic at almost any size. Low resolution (or low-res) images are perfect for the web. They’re resized so that you can easily email them, post them on Facebook, or share them on Instagram – without a filter, of course, because your photographer is amazing and already does great work! You don’t want to print low resolution images; they’ll look blurry and pixilated.
Pro tip: if your package only includes low resolution images, find out what sizes that will print up for you. Some photographers’ low resolution images only work for online sharing, others’ are good for printing up to a 5×7 or even an 8×10.
Want to know more about proofs, editing, and retouching images? Head over to my blog and check out this post!